This has not been a very active week! For the first time, we spent eight nights in the same place, a real luxury. We both needed to rest and recharge our batteries before resuming further serious traveling like crossing New Zealand by car. So we turned very, very lazy and enjoyed doing very, very simple things.
We cooled down regularly in the pool and drove our scooter around a great deal, checking out every corner of the island. In the evening we cooked great meals with fresh local ingredients trying out new recipes: tuna steak in ginger sauce, breast of chicken served with a sauce made from papaya and coconut milk, accompanied by kumara mash, a pure of sweet potatoes … Our fellow travelers in the communal kitchen of the hostel simply marveled at out culinary caprice, most of them living on pasta, ice-cream or canned food.
There is a back road running parallel to the one circling the island close to the shore and riding along this on our scooters almost daily, we felt as if we were passing through the Garden of Eden: mango groves, banana trees, pineapple fields, big trees full of breadfruits and taro patches, all this intercepted by the omnipresent brightly red-colored hibiscus bushes.
Another great experience was the Saturday morning market with all its local food and artifacts, designers “pareos”, masks and statues carved of wood, pearls of what we thought were of low quality and jewelry designed of shells and pearl mutter.
The market was also the location of unforgettable dance presentations with dancers dressed in costumes all made of local material, like coconut fiber. The dances are often very fast, with those hips flying, but they can also be very slow and sensual. Like on the Easter Island, the male dancers were equally impressive.
Off Muri Beach are a couple of tiny islands and one late afternoon we waded across, carefully avoiding stepping on any of the zillions of gross looking sea slugs in the shallow water, a local specialty by the way. On these small islets, we found lots of small crabs that had occupied small shells, carrying these around on their back and hiding in them whenever necessary.
Kayaking between the shores and the reef was another pleasant activity, with the water being so clear you did not need to snorkel. Even though we went out there in the morning, we had to return to the shore within an hour to get out of the sun.
Although we had considered doing the trek across the Island, we actually did not. Probably, we simply were too lazy to do a 4 to 5 hour long hike, especially in this heat. Another excuse was the price: “Pa”, the only and so famous guide offering this tour, charges no less than 30 Euros per person. Neither did we dare to go on our own, since we heard the route is badly marked and lots of people got lost, wandering around for hours in the heat under mosquito attack.
Often in the evening, we watched the islanders working out on the beach. Obviously sport seems to play a very important role in the people’s life here, which made us wonder why so many are overweight.